Meteors review – portents of tragedy in Turkey | Film

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The Turkish film-maker Gürcan Keltek has found a Shakespearean dimension to a suppressed news story in his native land: a suspicion of macrocosmic disorder, of falcons being hawked at and killed by mousing owls, a rumour that disorder below had led to upheaval in the heavens above.

In 2015, the murder of a Turkish soldier, allegedly by members of the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), led to an immense and brutal crackdown by the state, directed at separatists in south-eastern Turkey. It was a full-scale military assault whose fatalities have never yet been properly assessed, and led to a grim curfew – none of which made it on to the news.

But it also coincided with an extraordinary meteor shower, clearly visible in the night skies. In fact, this appears to have been the Perseid meteor shower, a well-established annual phenomenon; but Keltek and his collaborator, the author Ebru Ojen Şahin, have found in the meteors a higher truth, as if the heavens themselves were speaking out.

Ebru Ojen Şahin
Higher truth … Ebru Ojen Şahin

Keltek was inspired by the samizdat reporting of social media at the time. People uploaded livecam feeds of eerily deserted streets, and also moments from the violence itself. Now, three years later, Şahin looks at the residue of this chaos. “Buildings resemble eyes gouged out,” she says, an image that conjures both an eyeless face and the grotesquely detached eyes themselves.

The film juxtaposes parched, monochrome images of the landscape, detached urban scenes and tableaux, traumatised, suffering people speaking directly to the camera – and meteors. Perhaps this event deserves a more conventional documentary so that the world can be clearly informed of something suppressed at the time. But there is a poetic justice in Keltek’s approach.

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Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Meteors review – portents of tragedy in Turkey | Film

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